Setting up for business success in 2020

2019 is almost over and we’re in the last minute sprint to the Christmas break and some holidays. However, it’s also a great time to stop, prop and reflect on the year that has been.

I work with a wide range of business across many sectors and industries and I am finding that the pace of change is increasing rapidly – competition, regulation, technology, people, marketing, business models… every facet is under the pressure of disruption and change. I’m sure you’ve noticed it in your business…

As we move into a new decade (wasn’t 2020 where all the science fiction books from my childhood were positioned? …and now we are here!), it’s worthwhile taking the time to evaluate and set up a clear plan for 2020.

So here are my Top 5 Tips (including Resources) for Setting your Business up for a great 2020:

1. Take the time to evaluate where you are now…
This seems relatively straightforward but so many businesses just give a cursory glance to the NOW. At a minimum, sit down with your Accountant or Advisor and review your finances and the year that has been. You can also complete a simple business diagnostic to identify strengths and weaknesses or if you have undertaken a major change initiative use our Change Success Diagnostic to try and work out what you could’ve done better.

TIP: Think about the immediate issues but also the future issues that will impact your industry and your business in the next 3 to 5 years.

2. What’s happening in your industry?
Again, most people say “I know what’s happening” and fail to see the real issues. Take the time to review – I like to use a simple Supply Chain Model for this: that looks at what is happening for our Suppliers, Our Competitors, Our channels to market and our Consumers. Watch the video for more information on this process.

TIP: Think about the immediate issues but also the future issues that will impact your industry and your business in the next 3 to 5 years. Watch some TED Talks and YouTube clips of conference speakers. Look for people who are talking about disruption and change in your industry (or related industries) as the pace of change is far quicker than you think. Be Visionary not a “nay-sayer”.

3. Develop Innovative Strategies…
This is harder than it sounds but is critical to your success. Too many people have set up “copy cat” businesses that are exactly like the competition… Our products are similar, our pricing is similar, our marketing is similar – we are just slightly different versions of the same vanilla business. So, take the time to really understand your business, industry and target market, develop your competitive advantage and build a business that is truly different. Often small changes can be enough to carve a new niche for you. Look to innovators in your field and related fields – check out their websites, social media, products, etc.

TIP 1: Don’t just look at whole businesses – look at components of your business. For example: if you have a bricks and mortar business supported by an online business, then look at what leaders in online are doing irrespective of the sector and glean insights that you can apply to your business. Don’t copy blindly but modify and adapt concepts to meet the unique needs of your business and customers.

TIP 2: Take the time to understand the target market for your services and products. Do the simple exercise outlined in this video and see what innovative ideas flow from understanding your client’s key frustrations, fears, wants and aspirations.

4. Build a clear plan for 2020…
Once you have worked through the first 3 Tips, then step back and take the time to build a clear Annual Operating Plan (“AOP”) for 2020. An AOP is a simple structured plan for the next 12 months in your business. It should be focused in the high level strategic actions (or “Big Rocks”) that you MUST implement in the coming year if you are to be on target for your 3-5 year plans. It’s not a complex process and it’s highlighted in this short video (with template).

TIP 1: Once you have created your 2020 plan run it through our Change Success Diagnostic to see what actions you need to take to improve your chances of success -

TIP 2: Use the Personal Change success Diagnostic to determine what you might need to focus on personally to make significant changes –

5. Focus on YOU…
This is the most critical tip of all… In our modern, high pressure world, as Business Owners and Managers, we put ourselves under increasing pressure to perform… and we often have unrealistic expectations of what is achievable. We then “beat ourselves up” for not meeting these aggressive “stretch targets”, when in reality our performance has often been stellar. This propensity to create unrealistic expectations also flows from our personal lives, where we are constantly comparing ourselves to the “unicorns” and icons of social media, society and business. These factors mean that over 33% of the population suffer from depression, anxiety and stress disorders and my personal experience is that in the business world this can be even higher… this is a tsunami of pain and pressure that can no longer be swept under the carpet. So what can you do about this as we move into 2020?

TIP 1: The first step is to understand that these pressures (perceived and real) pervade all aspects of our lives and impact us all. Mental health is a critical component of business success so take the time to address it. Get help in the form of counselling, hypnosis and training. Learn to understand your personal stressors and trigger points and develop strategies to stop them blossoming into larger issues. Consider taking up practices that make you more mindful and balanced like yoga, martial arts and/or meditation. Make sure that you have a “balanced”, fulfilling life away from work and there is time for YOU.

TIP 2: Set realistic targets for the next 12 months… I’m not suggesting that you don’t set ambitious targets… but make sure that they are realistic and achievable with the skills, capabilities and resources that you have available.

TIP 3: Find an activity for YOU. Get a hobby, interest, sport that is something for you (no… drinking beer is fun but its not the sort of hobby I was thinking of). I love riding my motorcycle (its fun, relaxing and a mindful activity for me) and I make sure that I have at least one decent 2-300km ride every week (not commuting – a ride for me!). Since taking the time to do this regularly, my productivity and revenue have improved despite me “working” less hours… remember “present is not necessarily productive”…what is an activity that you want to do – just for you?

For many of my clients, 2020 looks like a promising year full of opportunities and I’m sure it will be for you. Rather than charging headlong into the fray… stop, prop, reflect and plan your approach so that you are proactive rather than reactive… you will reap the rewards from this small investment in time.

Work through my Top 5 tips and the resources and apply them to your business… I’d be interested in your feedback on how you approached 2020 and am happy to have a 20 minute chat with you (no obligation… no sales pitch) to discuss any issues/challenges these processes may have raised for you and help you find a solution. Click the link below to book a quick call.

I wish you every success in 2020.


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